Maud Gonne - Wikipedia
These lie like his metaphorical stone amidst marriage-poems written up to three Here rival Muses, versions of Mrs. Yeats and Maud Gonne, compete for the. Maud Gonne MacBride was an English-born Irish revolutionary, suffragette and actress. At age 23, Iseult was proposed to by thenyear-old William Butler Yeats, and Afterwards Gonne and her husband agreed to end their marriage. William Butler Yeats is one of Ireland's greatest poets and was a giant of the They stayed in contact but Gonne insisted their relationship was only platonic.
Written by Ian Duhig, the poem is just headed by a question-mark: The poem was privately printed by Clement Shorter and circulated among friends.
In Yeats indirectly interpreted this caution in a letter to Shorter, whose wife had also written rebellion-poems including one called 'Sixteen Dead Men'. Yeats explains that he has postponed a lecture he was to have given on war poetry, a lecture in which he would have quoted Dora Sigerson Shorter's poems: Times are too dangerous for me to encourage men to risks I am not prepared to share or approve.
Dora Sigerson Shorter's ballads were in fact more likely to inflame passions than Yeats's. They are uncomplicated laments in the habitual Young Ireland modes. Cathleen ni Houlihan makes queenly appearances, the Gaelic male is venerated, John Bull attacked and a heroic fulfilment celebrated.
There is even a naive appeal entitled A Catholic to his Ulster Brother. To begin with lament. There is of course no doubt about Yeats's grief or about his horror at the executions. By executing fifteen leaders, and later Roger Casement, the military authorities brutally and stupidly overreacted to an uprising which was always "heroical-pathetic" in Ian Duhig's phrase, and in a sense designed to fail or to succeed though the martyrdoms it might occasion.
During the next year, public opinion, at first against the Rising, began to slip slowly away from the moorings of constitutional Home Rule. I'll quote from Yeats's letters: The Dublin tragedy has been a great sorrow and anxiety I have little doubt there have been many miscarriages of justice We have lost the noblest and most fine natured of our young men.
Its sociological dimension is brilliantly captured in his phrase "counter or desk". This anticipates Tom Garvin's conclusion in a recent study that the revolution's ideology was largely generated by marginalised men — in commerce, education, bureaucracies — whose status did not, and could not, match their talents.
These men and the ethos was overwhelmingly male belonged to a cultural consciousness, a hegemonic tendency, which forged links between the continuing Young Ireland tradition, the Gaelic League and Catholicism.
There is critical distance too in the poem's early stages, criticism that prepares for the refrain's famous ambiguity. Firstly, Yeats has struck the low key of personal elegy, rather than the high-key of public lament. He allows her charity or socialism, but in a paradox that prefigures "terrible beauty" he combines good-will with ignorant. Ignorant is to be Markievicz's adjective as arrogant is Gonne's. Was it needless death after all?
For England may keep faith And what if excess of love Bewildered them till they died? And before the Rising Yeats had written: The word bewildered just hints at both confusion and derangement. It complicates Yeats's tacit approval for "delirium of the brave" in 'September '.
It is also a kind of criticism, or prolonged qualification, that Yeats takes the whole poem to get to this roll-call of names. Then "I write it out in a verse" may not be quite straightforward: Altogether, 'Easter, ' seems as alien to Republican commemorations as Wilfred Owen to the ethos of the Cenotaph in London.
But it inhabits that moment of change without leaving the present tense. And "A terrible beauty is born" hardly provides the hoped-for closure of Young Ireland balladry. In 'Easter, ' Yeats offers his verse not art as a medium for unfolding history. At the same time, he distinguishes his singular voice, his "personal style" from the Young Ireland solidarity of first-person plurals. The first stanza features I and them, they and I. These poems interpret, but barely comment on, a historical momentum becoming irresistible.
And is their logic to outweigh MacDonagh's bony thumb? Where do they go? To join their regiment, where Sarsfield leads. Wolfe Tone and Emmet, well do they know. There shall they bivouac, telling great deeds. In his letter to Clement Shorter, Yeats says: As 'Sixteen Dead Men' concentrates on "the boiling pot" in the foreground, 'The Rose Tree' suggests what lit the flame.
Pearse and Connolly agree on a powerful ideological and symbolic package. First, the liberty tree of which links the socialist Connolly with the United Irishman Wolfe Tone.
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Secondly Pearse's Catholicised blood-sacrifice: There's nothing but our own red blood Can make a right Rose Tree. One style is that of discussion, negotiation, compromise: The second style is that of symbolic action, the activating of symbols: On another level, these poems contrast styles of writing, and continue Yeats's dialectic between aesthetics and politics.
It is a considerable irony that the poet Yeats should be marginalised, upstaged, by this symbolism that has become so dangerously popular. The Rose Tree is not his Rose. Beauty is of course a term we associate with the objectives of Romantic poetry. Yeats registers the point that Pearse and MacDonagh wrote poetry themselves. Pearse "rode our winged horse". MacDonagh "might have won fame in the end". Within his own mind this mechanical thought is crushing as with an iron roller all that is organic.
At the same time he feared that his own movement had been swept to the sidelines by the Davisite tradition and its allies, by a popular poetry that was not "personal style". He wrote to Lady Gregory: At the moment I feel that all the work of years has been overturned, all the bringing together of classes, all the freeing of Irish literature and criticism from politics. Hearts with one purpose alone Through summer and winter seem Enchanted to a stone To trouble the living stream.
Women give themselves to an opinion as if it were some terrible stone doll. But the Journal contains other allusions to stones in the context of aesthetics and states of mind. For instance Yeats describes his antagonist the lawyer John F. Taylor as a machine with the dread of leaving the mind open among impressions, 37and as probably thinking me effeminate A stone is always stronger, more masculine than a living thing All achievements are won by compromise and these men Young Ireland ballads are notable for their mechanical refrains and other structures of rhetorical repetition: All Yeats's poems employ such devices but in an infinitely more sophisticated way.
Yeats perhaps calls attention to this in the one section of 'Easter, ' that does not produce the expected refrain. Instead of "a terrible beauty" we come up against the image that denotes mechanism or political and poetic rigidity: That conspicuously obstructive line occurs after Yeats has shown what a "living stream" his own techniques can conjure: The horse that comes from the road, The rider, the birds that range.
From cloud to tumbling cloud, Minute by minute they change The syntactical transpositions of "minute by minute", change, and live are particularly to the point: Changes minute by minute Minute by minute they live. One the one hand "All changed, changed utterly" — a structure echoed in the back-to-back appearances of "minute by minute they change" etc. On the other hand, the agents of change are themselves unchanging.
Yeats's oppositions are very obvious, even crude in this poem: This clears and sets the stage for scenarios in The Tower. And of course Helicon gets a mention — strongly opposed to the "abounding gutter". And since this seems the right place for it, I want to bring in the French Revolution. Critics can sometimes become hypnotised by the apparatus with which Yeats has surrounded 'The Second Coming'.
The preface to Michael Robartes and the Dancer may be a more reliable guide than the Notes. It tells us that Yeats's system or myth means that he "is no longer looking for candlestick and matches but at the objects in the room". At what object in what room is 'The Second Coming' looking? What precisely troubles the poem's sight? What circumstances, as opposed to the geometry of the gyres, have made Yeats sense that he was "receiving the revelation of the character of the next age"?
Evidently the First World War, and the intensifying "old historical passion in Ireland" count. Intensity is a word in the poem. The state of the latter in involved some military action by the volunteers as well as political advance by Sinn Fein.
The prisoners were still in jail and the Volunteers were assassinating crown agents and RIC Men. Robert Kee concludes that there was little British government counter-violence in that year. But to ignore a majority for self-determination in the general election was asking for further trouble. What seems to have confirmed Yeats's perception of "the growing murderousness of the world" was the Russian Revolution of He wrote to AE in early What I want is that Ireland be kept from giving itself under the influence of its lunatic faculty of going against everything which it believes England to affirm to Marxian revolution or Marxian definitions of value in any form.
I consider the Marxian criterion of values as in this age the spearhead of materialism and leading to inevitable murder. From that criterion follows the well-known phrase "Can the bourgeois be innocent? This was so inwith the striking parallel between the fate of the Romanoffs and that of the Bourbons. The latter ties in the First World War with the Russian situation.
Lenin surrendered territory to the Germans on 3 March But critical comment on Burke and mob has usually referred them to Burke and Ireland.
Malcolm Brown links the words with the role of French Revolutionary ideas in the rebellion.
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And in the contemporary context sees the "rough beast" as anticipating the IRA. It seems more obvious that Burke and mob direct us to Reflections on the Revolution in France. Another cancelled line reads: Is Yeats then, in one dimension of this poem, "crying aloud" about the Revolution in Russia?
And that word ceremony, so evocative of courts: Does that echo Burke's most famous cry: Burke's Reflections were of course immediately sparked off by a sermon from the dissenting minister Richard Price. Price's enthusiasm for the Revolution led him to compare it with the birth of Christ, and to quote the Nunc Dimittis: Burke subjects Price's use of this text to the heaviest batteries of his irony.
And a couple of words in the passage I'am going to quote also connect with 'The Second Coming'. Speaking of Price, Burke says: A saint and aposde, who may have revelations of his own Burke's peculiar horror of the women in the mob may be relevant to the Bacchante figures in 'Nineteen Hundred and Nineteen' and 'Meditations in Time of Civil War' also to the "crazy salad" eaten in 'A Prayer for My Daughter'.
All Yeats's imagery of "mere anarchy" tends towards Bacchanal revels crazily out of control. Turning and turning in the widening gyre The falcon cannot hear the falconer; Things fall apart; the centre cannot hold Later, the poem finds embodiment for the speaker's apprehension in the celebrated "rough beast"; "A shape with lion body and the head of a man".
This apparition is introduced in terms that derive from Yeats's experience of the occult and mediumistic trance. However, the beast may have an ironical as well as a mystical aspect. Now, I believe that the poem and its beast secrete multiple meanings. Like "a terrible beauty" they leave the future ambiguously open. Nevertheless, the poem's tone as well as content seems to have been partly channelled through Burke.
Conor Cruise O'Brien describes Burke's oratory as combining "prophetic feeling for the great forces", "rhetorical exaggeration", and a "peculiar kind of furious irony".
Logic is loose again, as once in Calvin and Knox So broadly speaking, Marxist logic — a "levelling wind" — has joined Irish Opinion as the antagonist of life and of Yeats's poetry.
The poem is an extraordinary synthesis which again has an aesthetic as well as a social dimension. As I said earlier, Yeats is putting poetry together again.
His daughter's birth is the most positive birth in this book of nativities. It assuages the poem's earlier vision of "the future years Dancing to a frenzied drum" — Thracian and Theban orgies once more.
Her desired qualities of kindness and rootedness conflate mother, daughter and Lady Gregory.
Opposing this trio of Muses are Maud and Iseult Gonne, the former associated with "an old bellows full of angry wind", the storm of Opinion, a compound of uncontrolled sound — scream, drum — and violence. In contrast, the Wordsworthian linnet invokes the lyric poem. The woman's thoughts are conceived as: But this rootedness also has implications for Yeats's aesthetic.
The "green laurel" complements the linnet as an image for poetry. But there is also an English poetic context. Yeats is recruiting literary allies from the English Romantic tradition. The poem conflates images from Wordsworth and Coleridge Both of these poets, indeed, had to convalesce from the French Revolution.
It's strange for Yeats to depend on values that derive from an English subjectivity that he had attacked. But at the moment Wordsworth's linnet or Lucy seems a more attractive Muse than Helen. But Yeats's developed vision of "radical innocence" owes most to Coleridge's 'Dejection' Ode more than to 'Frost at Midnight' despite the two poets figuring as unlikely babysitters.
A number of words and concepts are common to both poems: From the soul itself must issue forth A light, a glory, a fair luminous cloud Enveloping the earth A sweet and potent music of its own birth Of all sweet sounds the life and element. Compare Yeats's "magnanimities of sound" and soul that learns that it is Thus he reconceives his poetry as linnet and leaf, "natural kindness", as opposed to the unnatural unbalancing beauty of goddesses and queens.
This restores artistic wholeness and an organic body politic. And it arms poetry against Opinion: If there's no hatred in a mind Assault and battery of the wind Can never tear the linnet from the leaf. Afterwards Gonne and her husband agreed to end their marriage.
Studies on W.B. Yeats - Michael Robartes and the Dancer - Presses universitaires de Caen
She demanded sole custody of their son, but MacBride refused, and a divorce case began in Paris on 28 February A divorce was not granted, and MacBride was given the right to visit his son twice weekly. After the marriage ended, Gonne made allegations of domestic violence and, according to W.
Yeats, of sexual molestation of Iseult, her daughter from a previous relationship, then aged eleven. Neither the divorce papers submitted by Gonne nor Iseult's own writings mention any such incident, which is unsurprising, given the reticence of the times around such matters, but Francis Stuart, Iseult's later husband, attests to Iseult telling him about it. Anthony MacBride, John's brother. Though Maud omitted it from court proceedings, the MacBride side raised it in court to have John's name cleared.
As Maud wrote to Yeats, MacBride succeeded in this. Nevertheless, Yeats and some of his biographers still insisted on traducing John MacBride, insisting that Iseult was a victim.
Some of them have gone so far as to omit entirely the fact that MacBride raised the matter in Court and was cleared by the Court of this allegation. He had known her since she was four, and often referred to her as his darling child and took a paternal interest in her writings. Many Dubliners wrongly suspected that Yeats was her father. Gonne raised the boy in Paris. After MacBride's death Gonne felt that she could safely return to live permanently in Ireland.
The three travelled back together to London, from France, where Iseult finally turned him down, because he was not really in love with her and it would upset her mother too much.
Inshe established L'Irlande libre, a French newspaper. She wanted Cumann na mBan to be considered seriously: She worked with the Irish White Cross for the relief of victims of violence. Gonne MacBride moved in upper-class circles. She naturally accompanied Gonne on a tour of County Cork, seat of the most fervent revolutionary activity.
But the Viceroy's sister had a pass. The committee that set up White Cross in Ireland asked Gonne to join in January to distribute funds to victims administered by Cumann na mBan. But they were unable to stop the indiscriminate shooting of civilians, being more interested in law and order. The prisons were brutal and many women were locked up in men's prisons.
The League supported families wanting news of inmates. They worked for prisoners rights, began vigils, and published stories of tragic deaths. Through her friendship with Despard and opposition to government they were labeled "Mad and Madame Desperate". Maud was arrested and taken to Mountjoy Jail. But there was nothing prudish about their concerted opposition to civil rights abuses. According to the diary account of her colleague Hannah Moynihan: Last night [10th April] at 11pm, we heard the commotion which usually accompanies the arrival of new prisoners